Answering 10 frequently asked questions about the NFL

Giants vs Broncos
The Giants and Broncos met in the 21st Super Bowl. Photo from Newday.

Nothing surprises me anymore in the NFL – Tom Brady 

Football might be the national pastime, but it doesn’t mean that we’re all born wearing a helmet and pads or that we understand the difference between the first and third down and know what a quarterback is, or what he does. It’s a complicated, involving, and strategic game that captured the hearts and imagination of the American public more than one hundred years ago, and continues to be a Sunday afternoon fixture in bars and homes all over the country.

It’s also a game that’s dominated by the NFL (National Football League), and if you really want to understand football, you need to understand the organization that made it the premier force in American sporting history. That’s why we thought it was about time that we answered ten of the most frequently asked questions on the NFL so that when the next game starts, you can sit down with your family and friends and enjoy the game the way it was always meant to be enjoyed, cheering on your favorite team to victory surrounded by your fellow fans.

What is the NFL?

The National Football League is an American professional football league consisting of thirty-two different teams that are part of the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NVC). The NFL was originally founded in 1920 in order to eliminate the then commonplace practice of teams bidding for each other’s best players as a means to try and undermine each other off the field and raise the professional standard and standing of the game in all of its facets.

A vastly different organization to the one that now exists, the four teams responsible for the initial meeting that eventually led to the creation of the NFL were the Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles, Akron Pros, and the Canton Bulldogs, all of whom played in Ohio. None of the founding members of the NFL continued to play football after the 1920s, which was the decade in which the NFL first made its presence felt on the football field.

Was there always 32 teams in the NFL?

Even though the NFL now hosts thirty-two different teams, during its initial season in 1920, there were only fourteen teams in the NFL.  They were the four previously mentioned teams from Ohio, who were the initial members of the NFL and the Columbus Panhandlers, the Chicago Tigers, Racine Cardinals, Rock Island Independents, Decatur Staleys, Rochester Jeffersons, Buffalo All-Americans, Muncie Flyers, Hammond Pros, and the Detroit Heralds.

Only two of the first fourteen teams still exist, the Decatur Staleys who moved to Chicago and renamed themselves the Bears, and the Cardinals who after a brief tenure in St. Louis eventually relocated to Arizona.

How much are NFL players paid?

The oldest joke in the football book is “however much they paid, it’s far too much”, and while the salaries of most football players dwarf those of the average blue-collar worker, they do tend to follow a similar structure.


Football players are paid on a time served basis and according to experience, with rookies in their first season wearing an average of $480,000 while players with a decade or more of experience usually earn more than double that, and pulls in somewhere in the region of just over one million dollars a year.

How much is the highest paid NFL player paid?

The highest-paid player in the NFL is Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback whose contract is currently worth an estimated 35 million dollars a year.

Do NFL teams move between cities and states?

It’s rare, but it does happen. Cities can lose a franchise and other cities and organizations can bid on failing franchises, which is the main reason why teams move from one place to another. Since 1970, when the NFL and the AFL (American Football League) finally merged, seven teams, have moved, with the last move happening in 2016 when the St Louis Rams moved back to their hometown, Los Angeles.

It wasn’t always called the Super Bowl

Contrary to popular opinion, up until 1966, the worlds biggest sporting event was just called the AFL-NFL Championship, and it wasn’t Lamar Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs lamented the fact that the biggest game in football didn’t exactly have a catchy name and suggested that it should be called “the super bowl”, that the title was adopted for the 1967 game.

Who is the most successful team in NFL history?

The most successful team in the history of the NFL is the Green Bay Packers who in their long and storied history have won more games than any other team, and by the close of the 2020 season had 770 victories under their collective belt.

Who is the oldest team in NFL history?

That would be the aforementioned Green Bay Packers, who first played in the 1921 NFL season and have been a part of the league since their debut.

How long is the NFL’s football season?

Football season lasts a total of eighteen weeks, from the beginning of September until January. Each game in the league plays a total of seventeen games during that time, which does not include the run-up to the Super Bowl, the game that is played between the champions of the NFC (National Football Conference) and the AFC (American Football Conference) which is always played on the first Sunday in February.

Why is it called football?

Why is a game that’s predominantly played using the hands called football?

The name is actually a hangover from the time when Harvard and Yale used to have Rugby Football teams, and would regularly play each other. As time progressed and the rules of the game slowly changed, Rugby Football gradually became known as American Rugby Football, and in 1857 both colleagues finalized all the significant rules changes and played their first on-field game of American Football. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since that day, but one thing will never change. America’s love of the game that the NFL brought into every home.

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